Arts & Entertainment

Villeneuve, Bardem make climate plea at Venice premiere of ‘Dune’

Venice, Italy, Sep 3 (EFE).- Canadian director Denis Villeneuve on Friday presented his adaptation of the science fiction literary classic “Dune” at the Venice Film Festival, a story with a strong environmental message that was echoed by one of its stars, Spanish actor Javier Bardem.

The film, which is a take on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel and had its world premiere out of competition at Venice, explores themes that are pertinent in the 21st century, Villeneuve believes.

“When Herbert wrote ‘Dune’ he was doing a portrait of the 20th century, but it became more and more, through time, a prediction of what would happen in the 21st century, and sadly the book is by far more relevant today,” he said at a press conference.

Specifically, it “speaks to the world” about the “danger of the blend between religion and politics, the danger of messianic figures, the impact of colonialism, and as Javier (Bardem) pointed out, the problem with the environment.

The filmmaker of “Arrival” (2016) or “Blade Runner 2049” (2019) said that the novel “stayed with” him for years and that he has been seeing how it became more and more relevant.

Set in the year 10,000, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides (played by Timothée Chalamet), a young man drawn into an intergalactic power struggle for control of a precious and scarce commodity: spice, guarded on an arid planet where water is worth gold.

In this world, called Arrakis, the young heir of the House of Atreides comes into contact with an indigenous civilization, of which Bardem’s character is a member, and which threatened by an inhospitable nature, a scorching sun, a hostile empire and a fierce struggle to plunder its natural resources.

All these themes evoke the Earth’s climate crisis, and Villeneuve called for the issue to be tackled with urgency: “Future generations will judge us, it is time to push on and make changes,” he said.

That is why, in his opinion, it is important to make this issue “the theme” par excellence: “It’s about survival and that is what the book is about,” he concluded.

Bardem, a well-known environmental activist, shared the director’s opinion and pointed out that the author of the book was “ahead of his time” for wondering whether the world would have the capacity “to have us all in good health as long as we violate its limits”.

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